Cyndi's Two Cents

The local vet


Our veterinarian came at 6 o’clock this morning to breed a cow. With a torn tendon in his elbow, my husband, Jim, is not able to do the artificial inseminating.

We were out of the house early to bring the cow (her name is Doris) from the pasture to the lot and into the barn. While Jim was airing up a tire on the 4-wheeler, I walked across the yard and over to the lot by the 40×60 barn to turn on lights. I found most of the cows were already there, lying as close to the hay feeders as possible since the endless wet weather pattern keeps the lot muddy most of the time and the loose wasted hay surrounding the feeders provides a dry bed. The calves are as likely to be inside the hay feeder when the bales have been trimmed away by the resident ruminants. We regularly feed hay back in the pasture to keep cows from standing in the mud, but when it has been as muddy as long as it has, there is not much you can do.

As I pulled the lot gate closed (which was no easy feat considering the mud came almost to the top of my boots) I heard the early morning call of a screech owl cut through the pitter-patter of rain drops on the pipe gate.

It always amazes me how Jim can coax a cow from an apparent state of contentment to follow him. I was prepared, just in case, with a bucket of grain to get her attention. Bringing only her and her calf in to the barn was of course, our goal. While Jim got her attention, I followed him, bucket in hand, taking big steps so the mud did not suck me in. Of course since I was carrying the bucket of grain, all of the other cows thought that it would be good to have some of it so I was certainly the center of attention in the lot for a few minutes, but for some reason she and her calf were the only ones that followed me in to the barn.

Because all of our cows are broke to lead, when the vet arrived, Jim haltered Doris and led her through the next couple of pens to the one with the chute where he tied her securely so she felt comfortable and safe, and where it was also comfortable and safe for the veterinarian.

Once the work was done and the cow back in the lot, we talked about threats posed by animal rights groups, what the new health care law might mean for us, and hay. We talked about mud, too. Doc said he’s heard several old-timers tell him they’ve seen mud this bad, but never for this length of time.

Our vet is my age. He grew up on a farm nearby and still goes to the same church he’s attended all of his life. Mark is one of those success stories about a vet coming back to his local community. Our community is blessed to have him and we do keep him busy!

As I drove the 30 miles to my Brownfield Ag News office this morning, I thought to myself that sometimes I learn more standing in my barn wearing 5-buckle overshoes and a hooded sweatshirt while the rain pelts the tin roof than I do interviewing “experts.”

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